A/N: Here is a collective upload of all my prompts for SoMa week 2014! It was a wonderful week, and to those of you who've seen my prompts already, thanks for the support. For those who haven't, I really hope you enjoy them.
Day 1: Roommates
The apartment may have been theirs, but his room was definitely his, and her room was definitely hers. There was an intimacy to being in each one, such that for years they barely went in each other's rooms. Sure, one would occasionally barge in on the other during moments of impatience, but they never hung out in each other's bedrooms. Their bedrooms were like apartments within the apartment, private places where uninvited others might be considered intruders (including Blair in human form, not that she cared).
Bedrooms are where sleeping happens. And undressing, concentrating, fantasizing, and crying, all of those vulnerable states. Living together at all was intimate but there was still a degree of separation by virtue of the fact that they had separate bedrooms. While referring to each room as "mysterious" may have been melodramatic, it was also somewhere close to the truth.
One day, Maka was feeling like absolute crap, completely exhausted despite a full night's sleep, with a wickedly sour stomach and chills. It was a day that should have been for relaxing, a sunny Sunday, and she usually would have been out of bed by eight. At noon she was still in bed and heard a knock on her door.
"Uh. Maka?" came Soul's muffled voice. "Are you okay?" He had probably just woken up and been surprised not to see her around.
"Not feeling good, but okay," she croaked.
Soul hesitated, and she thought maybe he had stepped away, but then he asked, "Can I come in?"
"Ehhh, you might get sick, but sure," Maka said, glancing around to make sure the room was clean enough.
She heard the doorknob move, but he didn't come in. "It's locked," he said.
"Hold on," she said, irrationally exasperated with herself for locking it last night.
"Just take your time. I'll be back." She did hear him step away this time, and Maka wondered what was the point of that exchange. She dragged herself upright, sending a momentary ache through her head, and slumped to the door to unlock it before returning to bed. She had almost fallen asleep when she heard the door open.
"Crackers and tea," Soul whispered from the nightstand.
Maka cracked an eye open and murmured, "Thanks, Soul."
"I could hang out for a while, if you want," he said. His headphones were still halfway on, mini tape player sticking out of his pocket. "Not that I'm trying to invite myself," he added quickly.
"I don't know. I have a stomach ache, maybe a fever too. Wouldn't want you to catch it if it's a virus."
Soul shrugged. "I'm not worried. I'll be fine."
"I'm gonna kick your ass if you get sick and we have to miss a mission."
"All right then, I'll bet I won't get sick and you can kick my ass if I do."
Maka grinned through the stomach ache and sat up slowly, bunching the blankets all around herself. She reached hesitantly for a single cracker. "If you really want to stay, then I'd be happy for the company."
Soul plopped down on the bed next to her and though he didn't say very much while she had a few sips of chamomile tea and ate some crackers, he left his headphones off, which she knew meant he was being polite. He only put them on when she picked up a book and started to read. The background noise created by the slight sound of his music was soothing, and having him there, even with his eyes shut, was the ultimate comfort.
"I'm gonna try to sleep the rest of this off," she said after a while. She leaned down to put the book away. "You don't have to stick around for that."
There was no response. Maka glanced up, frowning impatiently, but her expression softened upon realizing he'd fallen asleep leaning back against her wall. His breaths were slow and deep and the music hadn't stopped yet.
Well, she wasn't about to kick him out if he was so comfortable. She found a way to put a blanket over him and arranged herself at his side, doing her best not to jostle the mattress too much and wake him up. This, combined with the soft warmth of the bed, was a wonderful distraction from her belly ache.
He awoke with absolutely no clue what time it was, though if his progress through the tape was any indication at least an hour had passed. Soul was rarely embarrassed about his ability to sleep at nearly any time in any place, but because Maka's room felt like such a personal space he wasn't sure that had been acceptable.
He needn't have worried. Maka - curled up beside him, definitely arranged so she could face him - was fast asleep, breathing peacefully and smiling mysteriously. The blanket the adorable little dweeb had put over him felt like a warm welcome.
Day 2: Nosebleed
He was resting his head on his arms, hiding his face from view. "Yeah?" he asked.
"Are…are you avoiding me?"
Despite all his efforts, his head snapped up and his gaze found her eyes. She was bent forward a little so she could be closer to his level at the picnic table. Oh gods, just concentrate on her eyes…
"What?! No!" he practically shouted.
"You haven't even looked at me for the entire trip, much less talked to me," she said sadly, giving him the puppy eyes. It wasn't intentional, though. She was just hurt and that hurt him.
How could he explain that looking at her in a swimsuit was going to give him a nosebleed without giving away the fact that he was having Naughty Thoughts, though? Especially that ridiculously sexy red and black skirt bikini! As it was, he had to stare very intently at her face to avoid looking elsewhere.
"I uh. Have no idea what you're talking about. You're making shit up, Maka, I promise."
Maka straightened up and put her hands on her hips, which he did his best not to look at as he turned his eyes back to the table. "Fine then. I guess we're just going to spend all this time on this great beach in Hawaii ignoring each other, Soul."
"I'm not ignoring you."
"Obviously, you are. I thought this was going to be a nice vacation, but all of a sudden you're all—"
"Just - look, how about you go put…" He couldn't tell her what to do, right? That would cause even more problems. "That swimsuit is very revealing," he finished intelligently.
"My swimsuit?" she asked, cocking her head to the side. Against his better judgment, Soul looked up and saw her studying the skimpy fabric covering very little of her own body. She snapped the thick strap of her bikini bottom absentmindedly (it made a satisfying noise as it returned to its place on her sexy, sexy hips). "Don't change the subject," she said, looking back to him. "Anyway, it's not any more revealing than anyone else's…"
What? Why was she staring at his face like that?
"Soul, your nose is bleeding— oh." Maka blushed bright red and covered her mouth, eyes wide.
He was preparing himself for some kind of verbal explosion of insults when she moved her hand out of the way so she could grin smugly at him. Her coquettish giggle and teasingly-raised eyebrow, he found, were only enhanced by the blush she still wore. None of the above helped his nasal situation.
Day 3: Insanity
Soul woke up mid-scream, falling (as far as he knew) back onto his mattress. He didn't know exactly what his nightmare had been. Given the intense sick still churning in his stomach, he was absolutely certain he didn't want to know. All he could remember were brief flashes - the Little Demon, who really was more a slightly-sinister pain in the ass than terrifying, but then - Maka - and her blood.
Well, that churning wasn't going to resolve itself. Soul threw his blankets off and made a mad dash for the bathroom, where he barely made it to the toilet before puking so hard he expected to see his own soul fall out eventually.
But it didn't.
Somewhere in his haze it fully hit him that the dream had not been a reality and he was flooded with relief. He flushed and stared mindlessly at the clean water filling up the bowl, not sure he was ready to leave. That shitty Black Blood was doing its best to make his life a living hell. Targeting loved ones would of course be its weapon of choice; how utterly disturbing that this was not his first and would certainly not be his last nightmare of that nature. He clutched at his scar as an intense wave of anxiety and anger rolled through him, triggering some dry heaves.
"Soul?" Maka asked, voice wavering, from the doorway.
"Uh, I'm fine. Just some indigestion. Don't worry about it…go back to bed." He was rather proud of how casually he could handwave while leaning over a toilet bowl.
He heard her pad away and couldn't help feeling a bit hurt that she'd left so quickly. She returned soon, though, with a blanket, which she draped over him. It was the same one he'd once woken up with when he'd foolishly fallen asleep on her bed (though it had been such a sweet experience in the end; he could never regret it). She put another on the floor and sat down wordlessly.
Apparently she wasn't going to leave him alone after all. He let her stay, at once thankful for her presence and embarrassed by his own predicament. He felt guilty about putting her through this, too, but had no idea how to articulate that properly. So when he was more certain of his control over his own stomach, he muttered into the toilet bowl about something tangentially related.
"'A sound soul dwells within a sound mind and a sound body,' huh? What about people who can never have those things? Like Sid. He's a zombie. That can't be the same as having a sound body. Is he just fucked forever? Am I fucked?" It wouldn't be necessary to mention the Black Blood. She would know.
"Soul," Maka said, putting her hand gingerly on his back. "That's not what it means."
"I don't know how else to interpret it."
"It means…you have to take care of yourself."
"How do you figure?"
"Well, the idea is that the body, the mind, and the soul are all connected. If you damage one, you damage the others. They never said you can't recover from the damage. They're just telling you not to ignore your own physical, mental, or spiritual health."
"Maka. In case you hadn't noticed, I'm not sure I'm ever going to have an entirely healthy soul. Or mind. Or body. Or whatever it is this Black Blood is affecting more."
Maka moved her hand up to squeeze his shoulder, and he knew she was serious, because she swore. "Bullshit. We'll work on it together."
"I know," he said quietly. And then he added, almost inaudibly, "It's not fair to you, though."
She squeezed his shoulder tighter and he almost thought she was going to try to forcibly spin him around to face her. She didn't, only spoke in a low, quivering voice they both knew was her 'most serious' tone. "Don't do that. You got that injury trying to save my life, so nothing about it is unfair to me. I've been working hard to stop feeling guilty about it so we can grow stronger together. Don't you dare start getting guilty about things like that, now."
He didn't know how to respond with words, but he did realize he no longer felt like throwing up, so he turned around and sat against the bathtub, offering a weak smile.
"If anyone I know can deal with this, it's you," she said with utter conviction, which was exactly how he felt about her.
Day 4: Loyalty
"Maka, you've never been on a date before?"
"Has Soul ever—?"
"Nope, not that I know of."
"Ah. You know you don't have to be loyal to someone you're not actually dating, right?"
Maka shot Liz a pointed look, but the older Thompson sister didn't flinch; she just grinned smugly. As much as Maka would have liked to start lecturing about how Soul had nothing to do with her choices and she had nothing to do with Soul's choices, she knew Liz would see right through her. Anyway, she was getting tired of denying it.
"I'm - nobody's preventing anyone from doing anything," she said weakly, and turned back to her book. "We're just not really interested in that kind of thing."
"Okay, what you do is your business," Liz said. "I'm not gonna try to force you to confess or anything like that. But you're trying to tell me neither of you, two young adults with hormones and all that stuff, and always - you know - touching…"
"What the hell is that supposed to mean?" Maka asked.
"You have to admit, you two do a lot of touching. But anyway," Liz continued, waving off any potential protest, "I think it's pretty obvious that you're holding out for each other."
Maka shrugged. "Whatever you wanna think, Liz."
The conversation stuck with Maka long after Liz wisely changed the subject. In fact, she thought over it very carefully that night as she rested her head against Soul's shoulder. His music was playing and she was reading, but she sneaked a surreptitious look at his face.
He glanced down at her. Oops. "What?" he asked.
"Nothing," she answered quickly, returning to her book. He didn't press the issue. A minute later he did move his arm; she almost protested until she realized he was wrapping it around her shoulders, pulling her close. This was not unusual for him, but…
"Have you ever been on a date?" As far as she was concerned, this was a rhetorical question. Maka knew where Soul was at all times, not because she kept tabs on him but just because their schedules were so intertwined. Her heart pounded anyway, knowing where this conversation might go.
She felt him tense immediately and looked up at his face. He was looking back curiously. After some careful consideration, apparently, he said, "Nah. I haven't."
She was about to respond when he added, "Well, I'm pretty sure, anyway…"
"What does that mean?" Maka asked nervously.
"Well it's…not with anyone other than - I don't know if it counts…" Soul was flushed as red as his own eyes.
"What?" She bit her lip.
Soul took a deep breath. "Does anything we've done count as a date?"
Maka's eyebrows shot up as far as they could possibly go, and her heart skipped a beat. "I guess that depends. D-do you want it to…?"
"I mean, that would be cool, but only if you want it to." He looked down shyly.
She sat up and tugged at his shirt. He followed her lead wearing a questioning expression at first, but realized soon enough what she wanted and leaned in to meet her light, gentle kiss. His lips were a little dry and very warm, and it only lasted a few moments, but it was an addictive sensation.
"Maka," he whispered against her mouth.
"Soul," she responded, smiling.
Day 5: Wounds (Part I)
As a kid, he hadn't realized how much his offhand comments upset her.
They had gone out to dinner with Kid and the Thompsons, and both had dressed nicely - Maka somewhat more enthusiastically than Soul. She'd put on a trendy, knee-length skirt and jacket combination, one he'd never seen before.
"How do I look?" she asked, excited.
The truth of the matter was she looked absolutely gorgeous. He kind of wished their friends weren't going to be there so he could have her all to himself for the night; she couldn't know that, though, so instead he said, "You look like a dweeby little nerd, as always."
She punched him on the arm, possibly harder than necessary, and called him a jerk.
Despite his ineptitude with verbal communication, Soul was at least good at reading people, and for the rest of the night, Maka seemed off-kilter. He could have been imagining any one specific instance of it, but by the time they arrived home and she decided to get a few chores done before going to bed, it was still happening.
On her way from the bathroom to her bedroom, she kept her head down and did not say goodnight as usual.
"'Night, Maka," he offered casually, hoping to engage her in a nicer communication.
"G'night," she mumbled grumpily, pointedly not looking at him. She shut her door before he could respond again.
Soul retired to his own room and flopped on his bed, the ideal position for thinking about the proper course of action.
On one hand, he couldn't be a hundred percent sure this was his fault. On the other hand, he could be about ninety-nine percent sure it was. In the past, he would have been angry with her for being angry, would have thought she was being too sensitive about an obvious joke or wasn't trying hard enough to understand why he couldn't openly shower her with compliments.
Granted, this was a new development. Until tonight, she'd always reacted like an angry volcano but recovered very quickly. She had seemed more annoyed than hurt. So what had changed? She'd had a different outfit. That was it.
Regardless, he would have to do something. Soul was in the process of deciding whether to go knock on her door or give her until the morning when he heard a knock on his own door. He stepped over to open it and was completely unsurprised to see Maka standing there.
"You know, I couldn't sleep without just reminding you what a huge jerk you are," she said venomously. Ah, there was the straightforward meister he knew.
Soul tended to mirror Maka's moods, especially when that mood was directed at him, so it took all of his self-control not to snap back with "What the hell did I do?!" Instead of fighting with her, he bit his tongue (literally, just to remind himself not to be stupid), pulled the door wider, and stood aside. He tried not to look like he'd been weaned on lemons and probably failed.
She just looked at him, confusion replacing a small amount of the anger in her expression.
"You wanna come in?" he asked gruffly. Maka's eyes widened, but she strode in anyway. Soul sat on the bed and invited her to sit next to him.
"Look, I'm sorry," he said as she sat. "You know I like to tease you because it's fun, right? And not because I'm being serious?"
"Yeah, Soul. It's fun for you. That's really cool."
Dammit. He should probably never try to explain anything ever again.
"I mean, it's not supposed to be bad. I don't actually mean to hurt you. It's…"
Maka gave him a sidelong glance. "And I don't actually care what you think. I was just telling you. It doesn't really matter what you say."
The idea that she didn't care about his opinion stung; he once again resisted the temptation to fire back. "But you seemed…grumpy all night and then you showed up at my door."
"Yeah, well, maybe you could have said something nice just this once."
"First you're telling me my opinion doesn't matter, then you're telling me it does? Which is it?"
Maka glared, eyes hard, with "you should know what I want to hear" written in her gaze. Then, just as he opened his mouth, he noticed the beginnings of teardrops in her eyes. "Yeah, okay? It doesmatter and I do care. Are you happy?" she said to the floor through gritted teeth.
"No! Of course I'm not happy!" Soul said emphatically, a bit terrified by the idea that he'd made his meister cry. "Not at all! I never meant any of it! It was a joke! It's just - what I do, joke about people I like!"
"Are you saying you show affection by saying awful things?"
"No! I mean, I guess, sometimes. Yeah. I thought you knew that!"
Maka shook her head and wiped her eyes with the sleeve of her nightclothes. "I always knew you were rough around the edges, and I always knew you liked to tease friends. But Soul, you can only hear something so many times before you start believing it's true!"
He couldn't have felt more stricken if she'd literally hit him. "You really think I think you're—"
"Ugly? Yes!" She held her hand up when he gasped. "I don't doubt your loyalty as a friend or as a weapon, and I don't expect you to find me pretty because it's not necessary, but I'd like it if you could just be courteous and stop insulting me on special occasions."
"What - but…no!" Soul insisted, standing up so that he could gesticulate wildly. "That's completely wrong! I don't think you're ugly, okay?! I just say the opposite of what I mean!"
Maka squinted and blinked a few times. "That doesn't make any sense."
"I dunno, it's some kind of Freudian defense mechanism or something." Soul scratched the back of his head, finally standing still in front of her, face as hot as burning coals. "The point is, when I said that thing earlier tonight I was just being…stupid and was really not expecting you to take me seriously at all."
Maka looked up at him, eyes considerably drier. "You're really serious? Why would I have not known that this whole time?"
Soul sat down next to her again, feeling more in-control. "Let me tell you something."
Day 6: Bandages (Part II)
Maka tilted her head curiously, still maintaining her stern, defended look.
"I uh. I say these things because - man, this is stupid when I say it out loud - I just like to talk about it. But telling you outright - I couldn't do that. So I just kind of…pick on things and argue with you about them. So then we get to talk but I don't have to admit anything, even to myself."
"Wait, what? Talk about what? Tell me what? …Admit what? You're so vague!"
Soul was anxious enough that the room was spinning before his eyes. He had only intended to mend Maka's wounds, not confess everything. But he was going in that direction. This would probably be more than she bargained for. He took one of her hands in his, hoping it would offer some kind of comfort.
"That, uh. Well, I do think you're nerdy and you definitely have tiny tits and nothing will change that - but I like those things about you and…I actually think you're very…cute. And pretty."
Maka's blush inspired him further. "O-oh," she said, and offered what he assumed was supposed to be a smug grin. It just came across as a slightly sheepish, relieved smile.
What he'd said hadn't been good enough. 'Cute and pretty.' Middle school stuff. Was he nine years old?
"What I'm trying to say is that you're beautiful and I have a backasswards way of telling you." He just stared at his hands, which were clenched on his knees.
"And you just…couldn't say what you meant? You had to make fun of me?"
It was like getting slashed across the chest all over again, except this time he felt regret too. "Yeah. I'm sorry. I couldn't tell you because I was afraid of what you'd think. Also, it probably has something to do with how I don't like putting myself out there too much."
Her tense voice made him glance at her. He was absolutely terrified of what she might say even though he had no clue what it would be. "Yeah?"
"I kind of picked out that outfit because I thought you'd like it. Liz and Patti and Tsubaki helped me."
Soul stared at her, dumbfounded. That was why this particular comment on this particular night had pushed her buttons so badly. "I'm a fucking idiot," he announced.
Maka giggled, and it broke the tension. His anxiety was drought, her mirth was rain. "But you're myidiot."
Soul looked into her eyes intensely. "Yes, entirely. And I mean it."
"Hey, watch out. You might give me ideas," she flirted.
Soul put one hand lightly on her cheek, keeping his other in her grip. He'd seen someone do this in a movie Maka enjoyed once. "I've never known if there would be a right time to tell you, or if you'd even want to hear it. But now I think it's important for you to know that I want you. You're already my meister and my best friend, but I…I want you in other ways, too."
He glanced aside bashfully, very new at this whole "confession" thing. Would this be the right time for 'I love you'? That would be a huge risk. It was true, but how would she respond? It would be better to leave it at something equally passionate, equally descriptive of how attracted he was to her, but with less…baggage. For now, anyway.
Maka's eyes widened (they were luminous, she was adorable, he was terrified anew of fucking up) and then, slowly, she graced him with another smile, unguarded and beaming.
"Oh," she laughed, blushed, buried her face in her hands as he put his own hand comfortingly on her knee, "and well - I've been feeling the same way about you."
Soul could not for the life of him stop the dopey grin that spread across his features.
After that, the kiss came naturally to both of them. Unpracticed though they were, they moved quickly to a deeper, wetter kiss. Her lips were so ridiculously soft and warm and delicious, her mouth so sweet; he'd never gotten hard this fast in his life. She tugged him down onto the bed, where he wrapped her in an all-encompassing embrace.
"I didn't think you really cared," he murmured into her hair. "You have so much going for you…I figured teasing you about your appearance would be no big deal at all…especially coming from me—"
"Shhhh, Soul, shut up," Maka laughed into his chest. She tightened her arms around him. "It's okay. I forgive you." She lifted her face to his for another quick kiss. "Can I stay in your room tonight?"
"If you really want to…I'd love you to stay."
Day 7: First "I love you"
"I want to come, too," Maka had told him.
Soul gave his partner/girlfriend a look of disbelief. "But you hate jazz."
"I don't hate jazz, Soul."
"Isn't that what you said?"
"Well, I dunno. I was angry because I don't understand it and…you do. But I'm past that now."
He shrugged and ruffled her hair affectionately. "Okay, if you want. It's at eight tonight."
At seven-fifteen, Maka had appeared in the living room wearing her nicest white blouse and skirt with pink accents. He'd stared, and she'd noticed. She gave him a cheeky grin and held his hand on their walk to the Death City Jazz Club.
Miles Davis had been one of Soul's favorite musicians for a long time, and Soul had been absolutely thrilled to find that he would be at the local venue. He'd assumed Maka would not be interested in coming, and instead counted on dropping by with Liz, Patty, and Kirikou, who were also going. As he held his meister's hand walking through the streets of Death City, he felt a little nervous about what she would think of the esoteric music. He wanted to share it with her, but in the past, she had not responded well to it…
"Wow, it's crowded," she commented of the dimly-lit little club.
"The guy's popular." He could have used his stature as the Last Death Scythe to get a seat somewhere, but Soul didn't want to do that. He wanted to be passive for the night, stay out of the spotlight and simply take in the music.
"I guess so. Are we gonna be able to get a table?" Maka asked.
"Doesn't look like it." Soul sighed, more for her benefit than his own, but she seemed unperturbed.
They resolved to spend the night standing in the back of the room near the bar, where their friends had already taken a number of the stools. As the music started, Maka drifted closer and closer to Soul until she was leaning against him entirely.
"What do you think?" he asked as he wrapped his arm around her shoulder.
"I don't get it," she said, but she was beaming. Soul smiled back.
"Try not to think too hard about it," he said.
He had to admit, having her there took the experience from amazing to perfect. Well into the performance when everyone was quiet and the lights were almost entirely out and the music was at its height, he closed his eyes, losing himself in the moment. Her body heat kept him warm, and she was patient, uttering not a single word but leaning into him as he leaned into her.
Soul did not have soul perception and they were not actively resonating, but he definitely felt the chemistry between their souls in that moment. He stole a glance at her face and realized that she also had her eyes closed. Heh, was she trying to concentrate on listening or stealing a nap on him?
They'd grown so much, he thought, since they'd come into this little place so he could demonstrate his piano playing so long ago. It meant the world to him that this spirited, courageous woman wanted to be with him here, even if she didn't exactly "get" the strange music.
Maka's expression was one of a person entirely at peace. Soul kissed the crown of her head, hugging her close with his arm and letting the faint sweetness of her shampoo compliment the music. The adoration bloomed deep in his chest, and he knew what he had to say next.
They hadn't said it before, but he knew she knew anyway.
He knew she'd reciprocate.
"Maka. I love you," he murmured (loudly, so she would hear) into her soft, wispy, divinely-scented hair. She opened her eyes, looking up at him and smiling hugely as he leaned down to kiss her.
"I love you too, Soul," she responded, voice humming against his lips.